By Ben Olson
Hear ye! Hear ye! Damsels, lords and ladies, knights, knaves and wenches. Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth I is most excited to welcome all to the splendor and enchantment of the Sandpoint Renaissance Faire.
Back for its third year, the two-day celebration will take place from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sunday, Sept. 1 at Wild Hearts Equestrian Connections, 784 Shingle Mill Road. It promises to be an event filled with history, fantasy and merriment. Visit with local Faire-goers, shop at period-correct artisan booths, experience the olde world camaraderie and feast on turkey legs bigger than your head.
The Faire was co-founded by Anita Pew and Tanya Anderson, who serve as president and vice-president of the Faire group, respectively.
“We started originally [three years ago] with a board group of four people,” Anderson said. “Now, to have a few dozen people volunteering to make this happen, it’s inspiring.”
Anderson said her annual transformation into Queen Elizabeth is something she truly appreciates about the Faire.
“I think there’s something very powerful about playing her,” Anderson said. “She was such a kind and just ruler.”
Faire-goers may pose for pictures with the queen and the royal court. They can also meet a newcomer to this year’s Faire: the Amazon parrot “Gus the Pirate Bird,” who loves meeting new friends and telling stories. Children can visit the upgraded Faerie Realm, where there are crafts and activities to spur their imaginations.
Anderson said it’s a blessing to have the Faire in the same location as the previous two years.
“It’s so perfect, with horses in the background,” she said.” It really gives the Faire a Renaissance theme.”
The day’s festivities are a thoughtful mix of history, fantasy and fun. Children’s activities include painting shields, creating masks, crown-making, beading, face painting and even meeting Mother Goose to hear the stories she has to share.
More than 30 vendors will be on hand selling everything from soap to battle axes to magic wands. Food and drink vendors will offer items like kettle corn, snow cones, ale and many fine grilled treats.
“It’s a whole village,” Anderson said. “Imagine going to a farmers’ market in 1577. You’ll find jewels, handmade items, there’s a chain mail artisan — some of his crowns and ornaments are just fascinating.”
Along with food, drink and artisan vendors, a regular schedule of entertainment is scheduled for both days of the Faire. Anchoring the events is the Spokane-based Epona Equestrian Team, which will put on two jousting shows a day at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.
“When you see them play the games on the horses, jousting, it’s authentic,” Anderson said. “That hit is real.”
Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and kids under 18. Children 4 and under attend free. Bring non-perishable food to donate to the Food Bank and receive a $2 discount at the gate. The Sandpoint Renaissance Faire, a nonprofit organization, will give a portion of proceeds from the Faire to Bonner County Food Bank and the Vietnam Veterans Association Chapter No. 890.
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